By Bill Parry
Long Island City High School’s football team suffered its worst loss of the season Sunday after losing its promising young quarterback in a violent Halloween hit-and-run. Christopher Miraba, 17, who was the Bulldogs’ starter as a junior, was leading his league in passing yards, completions and passing touchdowns before he became the victim of a shocking attack.
Keith Richard, a 50-year-old Long Island City man, has been charged with attempted murder, among other crimes, for recklessly driving his vehicle onto the sidewalk and running down Miraba, who was among a group who were throwing eggs on Halloween night, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Richard is being held without bail and facing 25-years in prison if convicted, the DA said.
Witnesses saw Richard, who lives in Long Island City, drive his gray 2008 Dodge Caravan onto the sidewalk toward the group of individuals, including Miraba, at the intersection of 23rd Street and Jackson Avenue just after 8:17 p.m. Oct. 31, according to the charges. As Miraba ran from the vehicle by crossing Jackson Avenue, Richard allegedly struck him intentionally, according to the charges.
Richard then reversed the van, striking Miraba again, and then drove forward, hitting the young man for the third time before fleeing the scene without rendering aid, the criminal complaint filed by the DA’s office said. Richard stopped his van a half block away and a witness approached and told him he had killed a person.
Richard allegedly said, “That’s what happens,” according to the criminal complaint.
Miraba was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was being treated for a fractured skull base, multiple spinal fractures, bruised lungs, a broken right femur, a pelvic fracture and a broken right ankle according to the Queens DA’s office. Richard was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Nov. 1 on a criminal complaint charging him with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting serious physical injury and reckless driving.
Richard was remanded into custody without bail and ordered to return to court Nov. 14. Meanwhile, Miraba’s team struggled without him over the weekend.
“Chris is a very smart young man and a definition of a leader on the field,” LICHS Head Football Coach Joe Houghton said. “Chris has many, many friends and no enemies. He is well liked by everyone he comes in contact with.”
Doctors told the teen’s mother, Maria Miraba, that he needs multiple surgeries and a rod inserted into his back to mend his shattered spine and he will likely never play football again, according to the Daily News.
“We will know more about his prognosis following his surgeries,” Houghton said. “He is in high spirits and has a ton of support.”
The Bulldogs lost at Franklin K. Lane Campus 46-0 Sunday, dropping its record to 5-3.
“It’s tough to win a football game when you lose your starting QB mid week, especially the way it happened,” Houghton said. “Chris is the best quarterback in the conference. It’s tough to compensate for that in only three days time. Right now we are focusing on getting ready for the playoffs, with Chris in our hearts.”
Coach Houghton organized a GoFundMe page to help Chris’ mother Maria, a single mother trying to raise three sons after their father died of Cancer this past December. Those wishing to donate can visit Chris Miraba’s Recovery page at gofun
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr